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Nat Cell Biol. 2013 Apr;15(4):338-44. doi: 10.1038/ncb2717.

Cancer stem cells: the challenges ahead.

Author information

1
Laboratory for Experimental Oncology and Radiobiology, Center for Experimental Molecular Medicine, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands. j.p.medema@amc.nl

Abstract

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been proposed as the driving force of tumorigenesis and the seeds of metastases. However, their existence and role remain a topic of intense debate. Recently, the identification of CSCs in endogenously developing mouse tumours has provided further support for this concept. Here I discuss the challenges in identifying CSCs, their dependency on a supportive niche and their role in metastasis, and propose that stemness is a flexible — rather than fixed — quality of tumour cells that can be lost and gained.

PMID:
23548926
DOI:
10.1038/ncb2717
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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